Saturday, May 5, 2018

Burning through the Quilting Cotton Scraps!

Since I loved my first rag rug so very much, I decided to jump right in and make another.

This time around I pulled out all of the cool colored quilting cotton scraps I had stashed away.  I had a whole lot of this purple and green floral on a cream background which was supposed to be the backing of this quilt top that still needs to be quilted!  Yikes - need to get back to that soon!  But it is a bit heavy and did not seem like something I wanted to be hand quilting through for an extended period of time, so it became the one constant in the braid throughout this rug.

I also managed to take a few more in progress photos, so I thought I would better explain my process.  First, strips of fabric were ripped (faster and easier than cutting, and it means everything is right on grain).

The strips get stitched right sides together, and then ironed so that all raw edges are hidden.

Lots of braiding . . .

with a little help from my trusty sewing basket (it makes it easier to braid things if you have a sturdy anchor point) . . .

and the braid is ready to be stitched together.

This time around I wanted a bit of an oblong shape, so I started with this.

And then the fun begins!

 Lots and lots of tiny little stitches holding this rug together!

I will say that if you are going for a true oval shape, you need to be rather extreme with setting up the shape from the center of the rug.

Once I ran out of that purple and green floral, I called it a day with the braiding.  This rug is significantly larger than my first, and it turned out slightly more circular than I anticipated, so next time I will have to remember how circular these things turn out when using a lot of fabric braid!

But I still love the finished product.

It also means I am putting a lot of scrap fabric to good use.  Those bureaus are still stuffed full of plenty more yardage, but I am really enjoying dressing my new home in hand made items.

And, just like the first one, I backed the cotton with felt.  I needed a bit more width than I could find to cover the entire rug, so I pieced the outer edges.

Quilting thread was used to tack the felt in place.  I figure if the felt gets gross or wears out over time, it will be easy to replace.  Meanwhile, the felt is protecting all my hard work with the cotton!

Which brings me to the finished piece.  I am not sure two of something can be considered a collection, but I have a feeling there will be more rag rugs in my future, and I am very pleased with these stash busters.  I may even have plans for the tiny bits left over from this project . . .


  1. Very beautiful! I once made a braided rug out of wool strips, and the book I used for instructions showed how to sew the braids together by lacing them with linen thread. So instead of piercing the fabric, the thread was pushed in between the braids and then brought through the braid that was next to it. Pull the braids together and the linen thread was completely hidden within the folds of the braid. I don't know if this would work with cotton braids, but you might want to consider it as the stitching together doesn't pierce or weaken the fabric.

  2. It is beautiful but, whew, that's a lot of work! You should be proud and happy to have this in your home!!

  3. It's gorgeous!

    Your color sense is beyond impeccable.

  4. First, your rugs are gorgeous. They remind me of my grandmother's house as she had these all over. She sewed her own clothes and used the leftover pieces to make them. Second, I've found a product on Amazon for applying a non-skid backing. This would also help to preserve your felt backing and make it last longer. I've used it to retreat the back of store bought rugs and find that the rugs have lasted much longer than previous rugs that I never treated. It definitely works better if multiple thin coats are applied rather than one thicker coat. Also, don't put the rugs in the dryer--let them air dry.

    Looking forward to seeing more lovely rugs!

    1. Thanks for the link! Will definitely look into that product.

  5. Good comments from other readers and your rug is beautiful. Your house is beautiful too and you are showing us your living space as i had hoped when you show off your hand made decor. You are amazing!

  6. Wow, this is an amazing craft! I have never seen such a rag rug, and you did an excellent work with the fabric choice and the arrangement of the braids. I'm impressed!